Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Retreats

If you are considering an art retreat for 2012, or even if you aren't, I'm thrilled to announce that I will be teaching at a few:

In July, I will be teaching at CREATE, hosted by Interweave Press, in Somerset, NJ:
Registration opens sometime in January.

In August I'm returning to Art Unraveled in Phoenix:Registration opens January 15.

I'll be returning to Art and Soul in October:
Registration is open NOW!

Collage Journeys in Vermont
will take place here in Rupert, August 14 - 18 (Tue. - Sat.). I will have the description and registration sometime in January - don't worry, I will certainly blog about it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

More Self-Portrait Experiments

Here are a couple of experimental pieces I did in my sketchbook using the blind self-portrait one-liner drawings I did a couple of weeks ago.

One thing I love doing in my sketchbook is to put down at least two different things that will be a challenge to reconcile. On the page below I cut out and glued one of my blind self portraits. I knew I wanted to work on heavier paper, which is why I did not work on the original drawing, done in a light weight sketchbook. After applying some washes of color, I collaged some found and altered images as well as found text down in the lower left.

Now what? Well, I don't know. That's part of the fun. I looked back at my sketchbook and found this:
...which inspired the heavy black oil pastel lines, and also the color scheme.

In the piece below, I was just playing with my water soluble colored pencils. This is a new material for me, and I'm not yet comfortable with it. So why not just play with it in my sketchbook?

I do look as if I've been in a brawl, but it was fun trying to create a more spare image using the colored pencils than I usually do with paint and collage, and to try out new colors.

Exploring the Self-Portrait
, my newest online course, begins January 2.

I'm offering Unlocking the Secrets of Color again, beginning January 4.

Get the new year off to a creative start!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sketchbook Practice Workshop

I am so excited to be offering a Sketchbook Practice workshop at the Northshire Book Store in Manchester, Vermont, starting January 10th!! The idea for this has been sloshing around in my psyche for a few months now, and it has finally come together.
Give your inner artist a little breathing room this year beginning with The Sketchbook Practice Workshop. You will get a creative workout, but in a relaxed, supportive setting, where experimentation and play are encouraged.
Read the rest of the description here.

We will draw:


Combine techniques:


I know most of you reading this blog are nowhere near Manchester, Vermont, but let me know if you are interested in an online version. It is something I would like to try later in 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One-Liner Blind Self-Portraits

You just can't make this stuff up! I did these with fine-point marker in my sketchbook, looking in the mirror, NOT at the paper, and did not lift the pen off the paper (or hardly at all).

I love the unpredictability of these, how each one is unique. I wonder what happens if you do ten blind self-portraits in a row in one sitting? Or blind self-portraits and then self-portraits looking at your paper, or the other way around. What does that do to your hand-eye coordination?

What happens if you begin at the hairline, or at the nose, or the ear?For this one I switched hands. I guess I'm more comfortable drawing left-handed, and this one is with my right:
I decided to try one that is not a one-liner, and my right cheek ended up in left field:Stay tuned and I will post the follow-up. We'll be doing plenty of blind self-portraits in my online workshop: Exploring the Self-Portrait.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Thanks for all your comments on my Gallery 47 show! I will post a how-to on the wood panels as soon as I get my next order from Dick Blick. Meanwhile, I wanted to show you some recent sketchbook output. I was looking at a few images of Kurt Nimmo, one of my favorites on Flickr. Inspired by the spareness of his work, I decided to play with the idea of paint-collage-line. Each piece has at least one paint application (and not much more), one piece of collage, and a linear element. These are made in the spirit of the JOY of creating!

I used a brayer to apply Baltic Green (Liquitex), then spritzed and blotted it, first letting the water drip down the page a bit. The collage is a bit of mono-print; and the line is a blind scribble.

More Baltic Green, plus quinacridone gold (Golden Fluid Acrylics) and some gray. Mono-print collage, and graphite scribble.

The paints here are Van Dyke Brown and Quinacridone Burnt Orange with a tad of Quinacridone Gold, all Golden Fluid Acrylics. The collage is a piece of a paperback cover, and the line is graphite. Plus a little sgraffito in the paint.

Quin Gold, Van Dyke Brown, a piece of book cover, and a line done in pen.

And for the last one I decided just to play with paint.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Here are a few pictures from my show at Gallery 47 (which does not have a web site yet, or I'd have put a link). I didn't get good pix at the opening, though it was (thankfully!!) well attended. I was too busy chatting. FUN!! Now I am psyched to take more opportunities to show my work - in the flesh as it were.

These pieces are mounted on wood panel:

A few of my 5"x7" pieces, framed in 8"x10"

A couple of larger pieces, 11"x14"; sorry for the glare on the left one.

Also mounted on 10"x10" wood panels. I love this alternative to framing with glass:

Some 8"x10" pieces you've probably seen on the blog or site:
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Self-Portrait Experiments

For the first lesson in my online Self-Portraits workshop we'll be starting with a photograph and tracing around it. Simple enough, right? I started by taking a few photos of myself using the automatic delay thing on the camera. Then I made them into black and whites in Photoshop, though you could use color photos. For the first two I printed them out light so that the drawing would be emphasized.
Nice how you can draw lines selectively and end up looking twenty years younger!

On this one I printed the photo out without making it lighter. I drew over it and then painted it in black and white, emphasizing my gray hair:

OK, so I look like I'm choking, but it's fun anyway.

Today I added paint, mostly with a brayer.

I used my "spritz and blot" technique (contained in this video) to make the water droplets.

After you get comfortable drawing your face over a photograph, it is much easier to tackle the self-portrait on a blank sheet of paper. And there are all kinds of fun things you can do with your altered photos of yourself!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Sketchbook Output

These are in the spirit of Peace, this week's theme from CCP Videos' Holiday Paint Out.

Just a little sketchbook output. Playing around... percolating ideas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Percolating and Playing

A comment from one of my Text and Image students inspired me to address the issue of giving ideas time to percolate. Here is what she said about the last lesson, which involved making a series of small collages that tell a story:
[This exercise] reinforced my sense that ideas need time to percolate before being expressed. I had been thinking about the assignment for days, so when I had time to work on it, everything just flowed.
I find I definitely need some percolating time, but this does not mean sitting around doing nothing while waiting for it all to come together seamlessly. For me, it is the struggle that seems to work: I have a few sessions of wrestling (or playing) with ideas and materials, when it all seems so "out there" and unresolved. Then, after a break (usually of working on something else or at least doing a little housekeeping in the studio) I come back to the piece(s) and it DOES all come together.

I used to find this period of unresolved work so frustrating and even debilitating - I was sure I'd never have a worthy idea or make a good piece of art; I was sure that for real artists it can't be nearly this hard or frustrating. Now, however, I have made friends with this part of the creative process, and I consider it fun, playful, and necessary. I embrace the open-ended aspect of it, and I don't worry whether a piece will resolve itself or not.

Playing with Pouring Paint

Since making a regular practice of using my sketchbook, I do lots of playing in it, purposely pushing myself off-balance and mixing things up, posing unsolvable visual questions just for fun! It has made my art practice SO much more enjoyable, and maybe even more productive! I have totally let go of the idea that something has to be resolved and finished, and it has made me more open to taking risks and pushing through the boundaries of habit.

Throwing Myself Off Balance

For daily inspiration to work in your sketchbook, check out the Sketchbook Challenge, or just consider a New Year's (or Solstice, or Holiday) gift to yourself to take a few minutes each day to play with paint, drawing, collage, or stitch, whatever your medium of choice.

Circles (which have ended up all over my work)

Percolating and playing are inextricably related. DOING, engaging in the process, is what keeps you fresh, keeps the ideas flowing, and facilitates the lovely surprises and discoveries of making art.